By Ata Ufuk ┼×eker
Brussels letter, week beginning August 1

-State aid

The European Commission ordered Spain to recover ineligible state aid for a high speed train test center from railway operator ADIF. The Commission concluded that aid granted by Spain to railway operator ADIF for the construction of a high-speed train test center in Andalusia does not meet the genuine objective of common interest. In particular, it does not contribute to promoting a sustainable development in the region.

-EU Presidency

European Council adopted a decision establishing a revised order to bring forward the holding of the EU presidency by member states by six months for the duration up to 2030. Following the U.K. decision to relinquish the Council presidency in the second half of 2017, the Council decided to bring forward by six months the order of presidencies, starting from July 1, 2017. It also agreed to add Croatia, which was not yet a member state at the time of the original decision, for the period January-June 2020.

-New Head of EU Delegation

Federica Mogherini, high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice-president of the European Commission, informed Turkey that she has decided to appoint Christian Berger as the new Head of the EU Delegation in Turkey.

-No fine for Spain and Portugal

Following the Council decision taken on July 12, 2016 in which Spain and Portugal did not take effective action to correct their excessive deficits, the Commission has recommended a new fiscal adjustment path for both countries.

The Commission was legally obliged to present within 20 days a proposal for a fine of up to 0.2 percent of each country’s respective gross domestic product (GDP) for breaching EU fiscal rules requiring that their deficit be below 3 percent of GDP.

However, on the grounds of exceptional economic circumstances or following a reasoned request by the member states concerned, both countries submitted such reasoned requests and the College of Commissioners recommended that the fines be cancelled for both countries

-Facility for Refugees in Turkey

The European Commission adopted special measures worth over €1.4 billion to support refugees who fled from the war in Syria and to assist their host communities. With this accelerated implementation under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, the Commission will deliver on the commitment from the EU-Turkey statement made on March 18.

Of the overall €3 billion designated for this year and next year, €2.155 billion has been allocated to date, for both humanitarian and non-humanitarian assistance. Out of this €2.155 billion, €229 million has been contracted as of today and out of this contracted amount, €105 million has already been disbursed.


The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.1 percent in June 2016, stable compared to May 2016 and down from 11 percent in June 2015. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since July 2011. The EU28 unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in June 2016, stable compared to May 2016 and down from 9.5 percent seen in June 2015. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since March 2009.


Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.2 percent in July 2016, up from 0.1 percent in June 2016, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.


Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3 percent in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.4 percent in the EU28 during the second quarter of 2016, compared with the previous quarter, according to a preliminary flash estimate published by Eurostat. In the first quarter of 2016, GDP grew by 0.6 percent in the euro area and by 0.5 percent in the EU28.

-Anti dumping tax

The EU has imposed definitive anti-dumping measures on Chinese imports of high fatigue performance reinforcement bars ("HFP rebars") - a steel product widely used for reinforcing concrete in constructions.  The definitive duties imposed range from 18.4 percent to 22.5 percent and will be in place for five years.  Currently the EU has 37 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures in place on steel products, 15 of which apply to Chinese steel products.


01 Aug,2016